Money Problems Can Compromise Breast Cancer Care
Study found gaps in health insurance, lower income and debt reduced chances of recommended therapy
SUNDAY, Dec. 8, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Money problems can prevent women from getting recommended breast cancer treatments, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 1,300 women in the Seattle-Puget Sound area who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2004 and 2011. The purpose was to see if their care met U.S. National Comprehensive Cancer Network treatment guidelines.
Women who had a break in their health insurance coverage were 3.5 times more likely than those with uninterrupted coverage to not receive the recommended care, the findings showed.
Compared to patients with an annual family income of more than $90,000, those with an annual family income of less than $50,000 were more than twice as likely to not receive recommended radiation therapy. In addition, the investigators found that lower-income women were nearly five times more likely to not receive recommended chemotherapy and nearly four times more likely to not receive recommended endocrine therapy.
The researchers also noted that patients who had constant money problems or had debt at the time of their cancer diagnosis were also less likely to receive the recommended treatments. This was also true for patients who had problems talking to a doctor, who did not have anyone to accompany them on their hospital visits, and who did not have anyone to take care of them and their household chores, the results indicated.
The findings were to be presented Sunday at an American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Atlanta. Data reported at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
"Surprisingly, we found that education or the facility where a woman was treated was not associated with receipt of guideline-recommended care," study author Jean McDougall, a postdoctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said in an association news release.
"Documenting and understanding these disparities is important for connecting women who are at high risk for not receiving all of their treatment with a patient navigator or social worker ahead of time so that we might increase the likelihood that they will get recommended treatment," McDougall explained.
"Our results suggest that further studies are needed to address the root cause of these inequities, and to develop effective interventions," McDougall added.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about breast cancer treatment (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/breast/Patient/page5 ).
SOURCES: American Association for Cancer Research, news release, Dec. 8, 2013
Type 2 Diabetes Might Raise Risk of Liver Cancer
But odds for malignancy are low; study found stronger connection for some minorities
SUNDAY, Dec. 8, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- People with type 2 diabetes might be at somewhat higher risk of developing liver cancer, according to a large, long-term study.
The research suggests that those with type 2 diabetes have about two to three times greater risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) -- the most common type of liver cancer -- compared to those without diabetes.
Still, the risk of developing liver cancer remains low, experts said.
Race and ethnicity might also play a role in increasing the odds of liver cancer, the researchers said.
An estimated 26 percent of liver cancer cases in Latino study participants and 20 percent of cases in Hawaiians were attributed to diabetes. Among blacks and Japanese-Americans, the researchers estimated 13 percent and 12 percent of cases, respectively, were attributed to diabetes. Among whites, the rate was 6 percent.
"In general, if you're a [type 2] diabetic, you're at greater risk of liver cancer," said lead author V. Wendy Setiawan, an assistant professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
Yet the actual risk of liver cancer -- even for those with type 2 diabetes -- is still extraordinarily low, said Dr. David Bernstein, chief of hepatology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.
Although liver cancer is relatively rare, it has been on the rise worldwide and often is associated with viral hepatitis infections and liver diseases, such as cirrhosis.
New cases of HCC in the United States have tripled in the past 30 years, with Latinos and blacks experiencing the largest increase, Setiawan said. During that time, type 2 diabetes also has become increasingly common.
What might the connection be?
It's possible that the increased risk of liver cancer could be associated with the medications people with diabetes take to control their blood sugar, said Dr. James D'Olimpio, an oncologist at Monter Cancer Center in Lake Success, N.Y. "Some medications are known to inhibit normal suppression of cancer," he said.
"Some of the drugs already have [U.S. Food and Drug Administration-ordered] black box warnings for bladder cancer," D'Olimpio said. "It's not a stretch to think there might be other relationships between diabetes drugs and pancreatic or liver cancer. Diabetes is already associated with a high risk of developing pancreatic cancer."
People with type 2 diabetes often develop a condition called "fatty liver," D'Olimpio said. In these cases, the liver has trouble handling the abundance of fat in its cells and gradually becomes inflamed. That situation can trigger a cascade of problems, including cirrhosis (a chronic disease of the liver), fibrosis (thickening and scaring of tissue) and, ultimately, cancer, he said.
D'Olimpio said fatty liver disease is the No. 1 cause of HCC. "[Type 2] diabetics have twice the chance of having a fatty liver, at least," he said. "If you're an African-American or Latino, that may make you even more susceptible."
People with type 1 diabetes, however, do not have an increased risk of liver cancer, he said.
The new research is scheduled for presentation Sunday at an American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Atlanta. The data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The study analyzed data collected between 1993 and 1996 from nearly 170,000 black, Native Hawaiian, Japanese-American, Latino and white adults. Researchers followed up with the participants about 16 years after they had answered a comprehensive health questionnaire. Over that time, about 500 participants had developed liver cancer.
Information about risk factors -- such as age, whether they had type 2 diabetes, alcohol intake, body-mass index (a measure of body fat) and cigarette smoking -- was analyzed, and blood tests for hepatitis B and hepatitis C were performed on about 700 of the participants, with and without liver cancer.
Whether people smoked or drank alcohol did not appear to change the relationship between having diabetes and getting liver cancer, the researchers said.
Although the study found an association between having type 2 diabetes and developing liver cancer, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
North Shore's Bernstein urged caution in interpreting the results. "It's a single study that talks about a large number of people with a common disease like diabetes and links it to liver cancer," he said. "We have a lot more learning to do and more work is needed to prove an association and define what the risk really is."
A study this month by the American Diabetes Association showed that many Americans are unaware that they are at risk for type 2 diabetes. D'Olimpio urged people to get the simple blood test, called fasting blood sugar, to test for diabetes.
The next step is to learn what role genetics may play in whether an individual with type 2 diabetes will develop liver cancer, study author Setiawan said.
Learn more about liver cancer from the U.S. National Library of Medicine (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000280.htm ).
SOURCES: V. Wendy Setiawan, Ph.D., assistant professor, department of preventive medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; David Bernstein, M.D., chief, division of hepatology, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; James D'Olimpio, M.D., oncologist, Monter Cancer Center, Lake Success, N.Y.; Dec. 8, 2013, presentation, American Association for Cancer Research conference, Atlanta
Many Young Americans Know Little About Cervical Cancer Vaccine
And only 1 in 4 talks with a health-care provider about the HPV shot, cancer society survey finds
SATURDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Few people realize how effective the vaccines against HPV (human papillomavirus) are for preventing cervical cancer, and even fewer talk about the vaccine with their doctors, according to a survey of more than 1,400 people.
"From previous research, we know people are generally aware of the vaccine," said Kassandra Alcaraz, director of health disparities research at the American Cancer Society, who led the study. "From this study, we learned that people are not sure it is effective."
Alcaraz and her team used data from a U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) survey on health trends, collected in 2012 and 2013. Those who responded were either in the age range for which the vaccine is recommended or had an immediate family member in that age bracket.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends HPV vaccination for boys and girls at age 11 or 12, before they become sexually active. For older youth, a "catch-up" vaccination is recommended. The vaccines, Gardasil (for boys and girls) and Cervarix (for girls) target two HPV strains thought to cause most cervical cancers, and Gardasil targets two additional strains. The vaccines also guard against anal and vulvar cancers.
Only one of four survey respondents reported talking to a health-care provider about the vaccine, with those who graduated college most likely to have done so.
When asked about how effective the vaccine is, 70 percent did not know. According to the NCI, vaccination has been found to prevent nearly 100 percent of the precancerous cell changes that would have been caused by the two strains, HPV 16 and 18.
When Alcaraz looked at responses by race, blacks reported even more uncertainty about how effective the vaccine was, with 78 percent saying they did not know how well it worked.
Alcaraz is due to report her findings Saturday at an American Association for Cancer Research conference on health disparities, held in Atlanta. The study was funded by the American Cancer Society.
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Although the vaccine has been available for seven years, the percentage of young people getting it remains low, Alcaraz said. About one-third of teen girls received the recommended three doses. Even fewer boys, maybe 5 percent, have gotten vaccinated, she said, citing CDC numbers.
The three-shot series costs about $400. Once a vaccine is recommended, as the HPV one is, insurance plans typically cover them, according the CDC, although there may be lag time. A federally funded Vaccines for Children program offers help to those eligible.
Under the federal Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," all new private insurance plans will cover the vaccines for the recommended groups. Those who buy insurance through the exchanges or who are newly eligible for Medicaid will also be covered for the vaccine in 2014, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
About 12,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed annually, with about 4,000 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. Pap smears are one way to detect the cancer.
Dr. Mark Wakabayashi, chief of gynecologic oncology at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif., is not surprised by the findings, but said the message is to encourage health care providers to talk more about the vaccine.
It's really the responsibility of health care providers to make their patients aware of the vaccines' effectiveness, he said. While teens may be aware the vaccines exist, he noted, "I wouldn't expect a person to know that much about the vaccine.''
To learn more about HPV vaccines, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Prevention/HPV-vaccine ).
SOURCES: Kassandra Alcaraz, Ph.D., M.P.H., director, health disparities research, American Cancer Society; Mark Wakabayashi, M.D., chief, gynecologic oncology, City of Hope Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif.; Dec. 7, 2013, presentation, American Association for Cancer Research conference, Atlanta
Expert Tips for Those Grieving During Holiday Season
Keep in touch with family and friends, but don't overcommit yourself
SATURDAY, Dec. 7, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The holidays can be a time of sadness and grief for those who have lost a loved one, but there are things people can do to ease those feelings, an expert advises.
"Personal issues don't magically go away because the calendar turns to November or December. Problems with relationships, jobs, finances or health can take on enhanced importance during the supposedly 'merry' holiday period," Josh Klapow, an associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, said in a university news release.
"The death of a loved one during the holidays can trigger strong feelings, even if the death occurred several years ago," he noted. "In the case of someone who died recently, the holidays can take on a whole new meaning for their family and friends."
Klapow offered four ways to ease feelings of grief and sadness during the holidays:
Don't expect this holiday season to be the same as those in the past. This might lead to disappointment. It is better to celebrate and grieve at your own pace.
It is normal to sometimes become overwhelmed with emotions. If you worry about feeling sad at holiday gatherings, try to allow yourself to grieve and maybe cry before going out. It might make it easier to get through such occasions if your emotions have been released beforehand.
Do not feel obligated to attend events that do not appeal to you. It is important to accept support from family and friends, but you should not overcommit yourself. It is best to give yourself some time alone but avoid becoming isolated.
If faith is important to you, try to spend some time with like-minded people. They will often share your desire to pray and talk about common beliefs.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers holiday health and safety tips (http://www.cdc.gov/family/holiday/ ).
SOURCE: University of Alabama at Birmingham, news release, Nov. 8, 2013
FDA: Certain Automated External Defibrillators Found Faulty
Agency issues recommendations to owners of several Philips Healthcare HeartStart devices
THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- All owners of Philips HeartStart automated external defibrillator (AED) devices are advised to contact the company to ascertain whether their device is among those that might be unable to deliver the defibrillator shock needed in a cardiac emergency, according to a Dec. 3 safety alert issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The devices, which were manufactured and distributed between 2005 and 2012, go by HeartStart FRx, HeartStart HS1 Home, and HeartStart HS1 OnSite. A recall initiated in September 2012 affected about 700,000 of these devices.
The FDA recommends that owners keep recalled devices until they are replaced. Philips HeartStart AEDs should make a triple chirp sound and display a flashing "i-button" if there is a problem that could prevent the equipment from performing as needed. Technical support is available from 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time) at 1-800-263-3342, option 5.
"Despite current manufacturing and performance problems, the FDA considers the benefits of attempting to use an AED in a cardiac arrest emergency greater than the risk of not attempting to use the defibrillator," Steve Silverman, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.
Safety Alert (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm377446.htm )Press Release (http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm377433.htm )
Measles Still a Threat, U.S. Health Officials Warn
Sporadic outbreaks caused by travelers to countries without vaccination programs, doctors say
THURSDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Although measles has been virtually eliminated in the United States, outbreaks still occur here. And they're usually triggered by people infected abroad, in countries where widespread vaccination doesn't exist, federal health officials said Thursday.
And while it's been 50 years since the introduction of the measles vaccine, the highly infectious and potentially fatal respiratory disease still poses a global threat. Every day some 430 children around the world die of measles. In 2011, there were an estimated 158,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Measles is probably the single most infectious of all infectious diseases," CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said during an afternoon news conference.
Dramatic progress has been made in eliminating measles, but much more needs to be done, Frieden noted. "We are not anywhere near the finish line," he said.
In a new study in the Dec. 5 issue of the journal JAMA Pediatrics, CDC researcher Dr. Mark Papania and colleagues found that the elimination of measles in the United States that was announced in 2000 had been sustained through 2011. Elimination means no continuous disease transmission for more than 12 months.
"But elimination is not eradication. As long as there is measles anywhere in the world there is a threat of measles anywhere else in the world," Frieden said. "We have seen an increasing number of cases in recent years coming from a wide variety of countries. Over [this] year, we have had 52 separate, known importations, with about half of them coming from Europe."
Before the U.S. vaccination program started in 1963, an estimated 450 to 500 people died in the United States from measles each year; 48,000 were hospitalized; 7,000 had seizures; and some 1,000 people suffered permanent brain damage or deafness.
Since widespread vaccination, there has been an average of 60 cases a year, Dr. Alan Hinman, director for programs at the Center for Vaccine Equity of the Task Force for Global Health, said at the news conference.
But, Frieden pointed out, "We have seen a spike this year with 175 cases and counting. Nine outbreaks, including three large ones -- New York City, North Carolina and Texas, and 20 hospitalized cases."
All of the U.S. outbreaks were tied to people who brought back measles from overseas. Most of those sickened weren't vaccinated, Frieden added.
Speaking at the press conference, Hinman said: "It's nice to be worrying about 175 cases. It's a mark of progress, but it also shows how much further we have to go. Measles is so infectious that before a vaccine was available essentially every child in the United States had measles before the age of 15. That means every year, on average, there were 4 million cases."
Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said: "Because we don't see much measles, and we haven't seen measles deaths in this country for years, that doesn't mean it's not just right around the corner.
"People think measles is not a big deal and they're wrong," he added. "Not only have we largely eliminated measles, we have eliminated the memory of measles, and so we don't realize how sick measles can make you."
Hinman said he was concerned about parents who don't have their children vaccinated for religious or other reasons. "Particularly clusters of people who reject vaccinations, which leads to localized outbreaks when measles is imported into the United States," he said.
Like smallpox, measles can be eliminated, but only if the vast majority of a population is vaccinated. Since 2001, the CDC and other agencies have vaccinated 1.1 billion children around the world. These efforts have prevented 10 million deaths -- one-fifth of all deaths prevented by modern medicine, according to the CDC.
Since measles vaccination began 50 years ago, at least 30 million children worldwide have survived who otherwise would have died from the disease, Frieden said.
Around the world, however, measles still takes an enormous toll in lives, said Dr. Peter Strebel, who's with the World Health Organization.
"Despite progress, measles remains a formidable enemy," he said, citing recent large outbreaks in Nigeria, Pakistan, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Many countries lack the resources to combat the problem, Strebel said. And according to the CDC, only one in five countries can quickly detect, respond to or prevent health threats caused by emerging infections.
Strengthening surveillance and lab systems, training disease detectives and increasing the ability to investigate disease outbreaks would make the world -- and the United States -- safer, the CDC said.
To learn more about measles, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/measles/ ).
SOURCES: Paul Offit, M.D., chief, division of infectious diseases, and director, Vaccine Education Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Dec. 5, 2013, news conference with Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Peter Strebel, M.B.Ch.B., M.P.H., accelerated disease coordinator, Immunizations, Vaccines and Biologicals Department, World Health Organization; Alan Hinman, M.D., M.P.H., director for programs, Center for Vaccine Equity, Task Force for Global Health; Dec. 5, 2013, JAMA Pediatrics
Skills Training Doesn't Impact Quality of Communication, Care
Trainee intervention doesn't improve communication, end-of-life care; patient depression higher
THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A communication skills intervention among internal medicine and nurse practitioner trainees does not improve quality of communication (QOC) or quality of end-of-life care (QEOLC), but is associated with increased depression among patients, according to a study published in the Dec. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on medical education.
J. Randall Curtis, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues examined the effect of a communication skills intervention among 391 internal medicine and 81 nurse practitioner trainees between 2007 and 2013. Participants were randomized to usual education (240 participants) or to an eight-session, simulation-based communication skills intervention (232 participants). Outcomes were based on 1,866 patient ratings and 936 family ratings.
The researchers observed no significant changes in QOC or QEOLC with the intervention. The mean value for patient QOC was 6.5 post-intervention and 6.3 for the control condition, while the mean value for patient QEOLC was 8.3 in both conditions. Comparing the intervention with control, no significant differences were seen in the QOC or QEOLC scores for patients (difference, 0.4 points [P = 0.15] and 0.3 points [P = 0.34], respectively) or families (difference, 0.1 points [P = 0.81] and 0.1 points [P = 0.88], respectively) after adjustment. Among patients of post-intervention trainees, the intervention correlated with significantly increased depression scores (adjusted model showed an intervention effect of 2.2; P = 0.006).
"These findings raise questions about skills transfer from simulation training to actual patient care and the adequacy of communication skills assessment," the authors write.
Abstract (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1787407 #Abstract )Full Text (subscription or payment may be required) (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1787407 )Editorial (subscription or payment may be required) (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1787394 )
Study Quantifies Substance Use Disorder Among Residents
Overall incidence 2.16 per 1,000 resident-years for anesthesiology residents during training
THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Substance use disorder (SUD) is seen among a proportion of anesthesiology residents during training and is associated with a high rate of relapse, according to a study published in the Dec. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on medical education.
David O. Warner, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues conducted a retrospective study to describe the incidence and outcomes of SUD among anesthesiology residents who began training in programs from July 1, 1975, to July 1, 2009. Participants included 44,612 residents contributing 177,848 resident-years for analysis. Participants were followed for incidence and relapse.
The researchers found that 384 residents had evidence of SUD during training, with an overall incidence of 2.16 per 1,000 resident-years. Following the initial rate increase there was a period of lower rates in 1996 to 2002; since 2003, the incidence was highest (2.87 per 1,000 residence-years). Intravenous opioids were the most common substance category, followed by alcohol, marijuana or cocaine, anesthetics/hypnotics, and oral opioids. During the training period, 28 residents died, with all deaths related to SUD. Based on a median follow-up of 8.9 years, the cumulative proportion of survivors experiencing at least one relapse by 30 years after the initial episode was 43 percent. The category of substance used did not impact the rates of relapse and death. There was no change in relapse rates over time.
"Among anesthesiology residents entering primary training from 1975 to 2009, 0.86 percent had evidence of SUD during training," the authors write.
Abstract (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1787405#Abstract )Full Text (subscription or payment may be required) (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1787405 )
135 Million People Worldwide Will Have Dementia by 2050: Report
More aggressive research, social support systems needed, experts say
THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The number of people worldwide living with dementia could more than triple by 2050, a new report reveals.
Currently, an estimated 44 million people worldwide have dementia. That number is expected to reach 76 million in 2030 and 135 million by 2050. Those estimates come from an Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) policy brief for the upcoming G8 Dementia Summit in London, England.
The projected number of people with dementia in 2050 is now 17 percent higher than ADI estimated in the 2009 World Alzheimer Report.
The new policy brief also predicts a shift in the worldwide distribution of dementia cases, from the richest nations to middle- and low-income countries. By 2050, 71 percent of people with dementia will live in middle- and low-income nations, according to the experts.
Research must become a global priority if improvements are to be made to the quality and coverage of dementia care. Equal emphasis should be given to policymaking, health and social care service and health system development, the report recommends.
"At the eve of the G8 Dementia Summit . . . it is not just the G8 countries, but all nations, that must commit to a sustained increase in dementia research," ADI executive director Marc Wortmann said in a news release.
The G8 Dementia Summit, to be held Dec. 11, will seek to identify and agree on a new international approach to dementia research and policy.
"The absence of dementia public policy renders governments woefully unprepared for the dementia epidemic, and there is an urgent need for a collaborative, global action plan for governments, industry and nonprofit organizations like Alzheimer associations," the ADI news release stated.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about dementia (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dementias/detail_dementia.htm ).
SOURCE: Alzheimer's Disease International, news release, Dec. 5, 2013
Age-Related Colon Condition Not Cause for Alarm, Study Says
Chances of diverticulosis developing into serious disorder are slimmer than thought
THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Diverticulosis -- a medical problem characterized by pouches in the lining of the colon -- is much less risky than previously believed, a new study contends.
Previous research concluded that up to one-quarter of people with diverticulosis will develop a painful and sometimes serious infection called diverticulitis. But this new 15-year study shows that the risk is actually only about 1 percent over seven years.
"These colon pouches are commonly detected during colonoscopy, and patients wonder if they are important and what to do with them," said study senior author Dr. Brennan Spiegel, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. "In short, diverticulosis is not something to worry much about. Chances are low that something will happen," Spiegel said in a university news release.
The UCLA team also found that people diagnosed with diverticulosis at a younger age are more likely to develop diverticulitis than those diagnosed at an older age.
The study included more than 2,200 patients with diverticulosis who were followed for roughly seven years. Of those patients, about 4 percent developed diverticulitis based on a liberal definition of the condition. However, only 1 percent developed diverticulitis that met a strict definition of the condition.
And while people who were diagnosed with diverticulosis at a younger age were more likely to develop diverticulitis, their risk was nowhere near the previously cited 25 percent, according to the study published in the December issue of the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Most people develop diverticulosis as they age. More than half of people over 60 and two-thirds of those over 70 have the condition, but it usually doesn't cause problems. If a patient develops diverticulitis, doctors typically treat the condition with antibiotics. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about diverticulosis and diverticulitis (http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diverticulosis/ ).
SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles, news release, Dec. 3, 2013